A heritage of humility

written by OM International

Not many lawyers approaching the age of 70 have a retirement plan to wash dishes and vacuum floors alongside 20-year-olds on a ship like Logos Hope.

But Frieder Hils (Germany) has 'mucked in' with the crew of Logos Hope in Africa for six weeks, and blessed the younger people with his example.

No stranger to the Ship Ministry, Frieder was on Doulos’ maiden voyage as he began a two-year commitment with OM in the late 1970s. He also sailed on the historic vessel's last voyage, to the dry dock from which she never returned to service. That trip had been an experiment to see if his wife Doris could overcome her seasickness: the couple hoped to help out on board for a season when Frieder retired.

They had a very happy three weeks on board, joining their youngest son who was serving as the ship’s Third Officer. Doris loved the community and was keen on returning, but she passed away from an aggressive form of cancer before their plans could be realised.

Three years after his bereavement, Frieder made it his mission to sail again and encourage those on Logos Hope, offering perspectives from his experience of life and journey of faith. 

“On Doulos, I learnt humility,” Frieder recalled. “I had to start from level one to learn English. I had thought I was a professional, useful person, but working in the book hold wasn’t what I was used to. We are all learners until the end of our life.”

Frieder’s insight made an impact on his pantry colleagues. Lorien Ankers (UK) says, “He drew members of the team aside to say, ‘I’ve been watching you, and I see that God could use you, but don’t let this aspect get in your way.’ Every time you saw him, he was giving his best. People were motivated to do the same.”

“He didn’t get complacent in the work, but always tried to improve the performance and the team,” says Matt Plotz (USA), Logos Hope’s chief cook. Frieder showed us a goal we can all aim at. We’ll miss him. He can come back any time!”